Report: Designing urban land form for climate and environmental co-benefits
Time: 10:00-11:40, Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Venue: Room 109, Mingjing Building, College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tongji University
Reporter: Dr. Zhao Lei, postdoctoral research fellow in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy (STEP), Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.
Zhao Lei received his Ph.D. in atmospheric physics from Yale University. He combines theory, numerical modeling, and remote sensing techniques to study the urban climate and environment, and climate mitigation strategies. Dr. Zhao has published widely in top journals including “Nature”, “Nature Communications”, “Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres”, “Boundary-Layer Meteorology”, etc.
Heat stress associated with climate change is projected to cause a substantial increase in human mortality and a large reduction in workplace productivity. These risks are further amplified for urban populations because of the urban heat island. Because the majority of the world’s population is projected to live in cities, there is a pressing need to find effective solutions for the high temperature problem. Despite consensus on these heat stress impacts, urban climate agendas are still mostly restricted to carbon management which brings marginal, if any at all, heat relief to urban residents. The few municipalities that have a heat management plan in place focus more on helping individuals cope with heat stress than on actively modifying citywide microclimate. The lack of attention to local-scale heat reduction is partly a legacy of international climate policies on carbon reduction and credit attribution. Another important hindrance is the lack of actionable guidance from the scientific community to city planners on urban heat mitigation methods. A barrier to active UHI mitigation is the lack of quantitative attribution of the various contributions to UHI intensity. It is now recognized that in addition to the traditional emphasis on preparedness to cope with heat stress, these solutions should include active modifications of urban land form to reduce urban temperatures. We integrate remote sensing, climate modeling and geospatial methods to investigate the effectiveness of the commonly proposed active urban climate strategies individually and collectively. A UHI mitigation wedge strategy consisting of cool roof, street vegetation and reflective pavement has the potential to eliminate the daytime UHI plus the greenhouse gas induced warming.